The Importance of Dental Implants After Oral Cancer
Each day, one hundred and thirty-two people are diagnosed with oral cancer, totaling over 48,000 people per year. Many of these patients chose not to have an oral cancer screening as part of their regular dental checkup, and as a result, most patients do now they have oral cancer until it becomes visible. Unfortunately, when oral cancer is visible is when the disease is in the third or fourth stage and is harder to treat. As a result of their late diagnosis, many patients face losing teeth, bone and gum tissue, and parts of the tongue, and in some cases, even their lives. Dr. Hudson recommends that all patients choose to have an oral cancer screening performed each year, and helps patients who have lost their teeth to oral cancer by replacing them with dental implants.
Dental implants for oral cancer survivors are often a better, more favorable option than the use of prosthetic treatments like dentures. This is because many patients are left with hard and soft tissue deformities, as well as other changes in the mouth, as a result of oral cancer treatments like radiation and surgery. Because of these deformities and changes, dentures and bridges may be hard to fit properly. Prosthetics that do not fit leave the patient at risk of painful sores and infection, chronic dry mouth, and can even lead to periodontal disease. Dental prosthetics may also impair the patient’s ability to chew, speak, and even change their physical appearance.
Once a patient’s oral cancer has been successfully treated through medical intervention, they may get the green light to undergo dental implant therapy. However, dental implant treatment in oral cancer patients can be at times challenging because the bone into which the dental implants is to be placed may have been irradiated during treatment, or has been grafted into the jaw to replace bone tissue that has been lost or removed. Despite these challenges, the overwhelming majority of dental implants placed in oral cancer treatments are a success.
Dental implants have many benefits for patients who have lost teeth to cancer and have benefits as well as for patients who have experienced tooth loss as a result of injury or gum disease. One of the benefits of dental implants includes helping patients maintain their physical appearance, as the loss of a tooth or multiple teeth can give patients a sunken or skeletal look. Dental implants help to protect the patient’s speech function, as the loss of teeth can impact the ability to speak clearly. Implants also allow the patient to eat comfortably. For many patients who have experienced tooth loss, the greatest benefit of dental implants is the return of their smile and their confidence.
Are you an oral cancer survivor looking to regain your smile and confidence, or a patient who has experienced the loss of a tooth and are interested in a dental implant? Call Dr. Hudson today at 1.888.724.7986 for a consultation.